By BUUMBA CHIMBULU
ECONOMIC lockdowns instituted in some African countries have encouraged local sourcing of raw materials, says Zambia Association of Manufacturers immediate past president, Roseta Chabala.
Ms Chabala said the most immediate impact of the lockdown would be the termination of the movement of imported raw materials and manufacturing inputs in the event that the borders were completely closed.
In such an instance, she said, the only way to keep the productive sector going was to resort to local sourcing of inputs.
Ms Chabala explained that some companies such as Zambia Sugar was willing to supply molasses for production of ethanol and Coca Cola had offered to bottle hand sanitisers using the ethanol.
“Further, ZamLeather has offered to use one of its production lines to produce re-useable face masks, which will lead to removing the need of importing this product.
“In fact, all tailoring businesses may need to join in this effort if we are to produce enough masks for everyone,” she said in an interview.
Ms Chabala said keeping the productive sector going may in this instance require shifting consumption patterns in the country to locally produced products.
She stressed that the ‘Proudly Zambian Campaign’ would need to seize this opportunity to bolster Zambian Brands.
Ms Chabala emphasised that some of the measures that may foresee as applicable in a lockdown scenario may need to be embraced already given where the United States dollar exchange rate is currently.
She said this would work well to preserve the foreign currency now with the view to use it in the recovery phase of the economy.
Ms Chabala also warned that there would also naturally be adverse impact on the exports in the event of a lockdown in Zambia.
“However, it is important to note that not only has demand already gone down for some Zambian exports, some of the access routes have also already been closed. This is already having an adverse impact on the economy,” she said.
By BUUMBA CHIMBULU